Legal Email Signatures - Fight back

Generally speaking, the wheels tend to fall off the wagon when lawyers get involved. Take email signatures for example. In the old days it use to be a way to signal the end of your email message, with a simple salutation. Maybe a Yours faithfully or maybe even your name.

However the humble email signature has evolved into something more elaborate and much more annoying. In many instances, the signature can be many times larger than the email it is representing. When you find yourself in that situation, then please sit back and have a think about what your doing.

Let's excuse the people, for the moment, that think it cool to place images at the bottom, failing miserably to understand that many devices/clients can still not render HTML email (Blackberry for example). For they do not know what they do.

Let us instead look at the clowns that insist on placing a number of paragraphs of legalize nonsense at the bottom of every outgoing email, locking you into a whole manner of restrictions and conditions. If that isn't bad enough, god help you if you get into a conversation thread with them. They appear to have lost the ability to edit, so before you know it, you can have many copies of this legal contract flying around within the emails, clogging up mailboxes and bandwidth.

These people must be saved from themselves primarily and then from us. For the good of the rest of us, we have to fight back.

I came across another person's frustration with this increasing trend and I thought he put it rather beautifully. So, I hope he doesn't mind, I have reproduced it here.

As of 20 August 2005, if you send me an email with a contained or attached disclaimer that includes one or more of the following items:
  • legal notice or threat(s)
  • disclosure restriction(s)
  • forward restriction(s)
  • "intended recipient" nonsense
Then you automatically agree to pay me a license fee of DKK 1000,- for using my email address and a DKK 250,- fee for wasting my time on reading it.

More power to him.

With more of us picking up email on the move, most carriers charge us on the bandwidth we consume. It doesn't take too long before you can actually starting putting a real cost to these unnecessary and pompous email signatures.

Time has come to let the sender foot the bill - you want to email me a stupid big email legal signature, then be prepared for an invoice to be raised to your company for the bandwidth/time used.


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